Alternative & New
Building Materials Affect Affordability
Green and Alternative Building Materials
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What Affects Affordability?
Deciding what building materials to use is an important part of the design of your cohousing project. It also affects affordability.
We all want "cheap, new, and green."
There are times when that is not feasible.
Let's say that your building committee discovers a new building material that can be used as a plumbing or electrical material. It is cheaper or "greener" than other materials commonly used for that purpose. You want to use it.
If it is new, but known, and merely uncommon in building circles, there will probably be no problem. If it is not known, there are some steps you will have to take before using it:
1. The members of your group will have to study it and then approve it. New members coming into the group may require extra education to accept it.
2. Your builder and other professionals on the job will have to devote extra time to the project to learn how to use it.
3. The building department of your town might balk; they will have to be convinced it is the equivalent of known building materials for that purpose.
5. There may be no reliable source for buying it. Waiting for delivery might cause delays adding to your financing costs and general headaches.
6. Even if there is a reliable source for purchase, your contractor or subcontractor may not have that knowledge. If he/she pays more, you probably will, also.
6. The subcontractor and his/her crew must learn to install the new material.
7. Your insurance company may decide not to insure it, even after education about the material, or may charge more for insurance.
This approval process will take time and money. In addition to delaying the project, it could cost more money than a known-to-all building material.
You might decide the new material is worth the aggravation, though, particularly if it is a green material.
Of course, the opposite can be true. Your builder or architect may know of a great new material that the city, the insurance company, or even your own members will not accept.
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